BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The Texas A&M volleyball team pulled off its third sweep of the season on Tuesday night when it topped Sam Houston (28-26, 25-14, 30-28) inside Reed Arena.
For the first time this year, a trio of Aggies reached double-digit kills in a single match, as Logan Lednicky led the way with 18. Madison Bowser turned in a career-high 10 kills, while Caroline Meuth added 13. Defensively, the Maroon & White had nine team blocks, spearheaded by freshman Ifenna Cos-Okpalla off the bench, who had seven. Libero Lauren Hogan scooped 12 digs and both setters, Nisa Buzlutepe (11) and Elena Karakasi (30), each recorded double-digit assists.
A 5-0 run quickly carried A&M to an early 7-4 lead over the Bearkats, highlighted by kills from Bowser and Lednicky. Going into the media break, the Aggies sat at a three-point cushion, before Sam Houston responded with three unanswered points. The opening set needed extra points, as Lednicky’s match-leading seventh kill pushed A&M to set point and an ace by the freshman sealed it, 28-26.
The Aggies started the second set with a 5-1 run, forcing Sam Houston to call a timeout early. Lednicky and Meuth reached double figures, carrying A&M to a five-point advantage midway through the set. Finding their rhythm, the Aggies used five-straight points to charge ahead, 20-12. Lednicky’s 13th kill pushed the Maroon & White to set point, before taking it 25-14 on a block by the opposite hitter and Cos-Okpalla.
In the deciding set, Bowser reached her 10th kill on the first point of the frame, starting a 3-0 run for A&M. The Bearkats battled back and took their first lead of the match, holding a slim 9-8 advantage. The Aggies responded and jumped ahead, 21-16, on a Ciera Hecht kill, before Sam Houston scored six-straight points to take the 22-21 lead. The back-and-forth battle continued as there were seven ties in the closing points of the frame, but the Aggies held on for the 30-28 victory.
Texas A&M hosts Louisiana at Reed Arena on Friday at 6 p.m. Fans with a ticket for Saturday’s football game against App State receive free admission to the volleyball match by showing their ticket at the door.
Head coach Laura “Bird” Kuhn
Overall thoughts on the match…
“We were excited to get back home. It was a quick turnaround for us, but whenever we get the opportunity to play in front of the 12th Man, and then go deep into our bench, that’s huge for us. We always talk about the pieces we have, and we have all the pieces we need. I think the challenge is for everyone to be focused and locked-in, and we have to be more consistent with that, no matter who we have on the court and how we’re executing.”
On getting people off the bench and into the match…
“Being able to get them in, and playing in front of the 12th Man, is huge for them as individuals but also as a team. We need to take pride in that, and so when we have the opportunity to get some of our young kids and new people in, we need to be able to execute. For them, they just need to know what their role is.”
Redshirt junior middle blocker Madison Bowser
On the team’s execution…
“Sam Houston is a great opponent, and I think we’re ready for SEC play when we get there. We know we have some things to work on, but it’s coming up. We live and we learn, we know what we need to do, and so now we just need to practice so we can execute in the games.”
Freshman opposite hitter Logan Lednicky
On the team’s quick turnaround…
“This weekend was pretty long with three big matches. I think coming off of it, this team knew what we had to do with the quick turnaround. I think we could have come in a little bit more locked in, but I think that trust builds over time with each other and as SEC play starts in a couple of weeks, it’s only going to get better from here.”